Time, Money and Why Free, Isn’t Free!

The subject of this post is one that Lynette and I have discussed with many of our members on a personal level.

So, let’s talk about Time and Money and Free. We treat time and money delicately when in reality, they should be two of the clearest aspects of our business.
 
In fact, when it comes to charging for or placing value on time, we do our research, we nitpick…and especially when it comes to putting a dollar amount on it, we are well…frugal (to use a nice word :). 
 

And then there’s FREE. Have you ever really thought about the value of FREE? I could go on about this topic, but will let you continue reading this post which, in the end…makes my point.We’ve discussed the importance of investing (not spending) in ourselves as we are the greatest asset in our businesses.

 

Free Isn’t Free

What is you ROTI (Return On Time Invested? I’m not talking about the time your clients pay you for.  I’m talking about the time you spend doing administrative tasks, creating a DIY website, or customizing a free service for your needs.

Your time is yours, correct? Yes and no.

Yes, you own your time and no, you don’t need to pay someone else for it. But your time is an asset and it has value, so how you spend it determines if your return is more or less than its value. Make sense?

In fact, time is your most precious and irreplaceable asset.

How you spend your time will directly impact your bottom line.  Unlike other assets, you can’t save it up for a rainy day.  You can’t buy more time.  You get 24 hours in a day like every other business owner out there and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

“I just want to make a living. I’m not interested in dissecting the meaning of life,” you may say.

What DIY Really Costs You

You decide that you are going to build your own website from scratch.
You will have complete control over the structure, the layout, behind the scenes SEO, and more. There’s no waiting for an outside firm to update your site. There’s no risk of looking like 50 other sites because you used a template.
Sounds great, right?
Not so fast.
  • What FTP will you use?  Do you even know what an FTP is?
  • Do you know any HTML? Do you even need to know?
  • Have you ever created your own CSS file?
You’re smart. I’m sure you are able to learn all of these things. The real question is how long will it take? Let’s assume it would take you 120 hours, or one month, to learn these things and build your own site.
When you perform work for clients, you are earning $50 net profit for every hour billed.  If you were to pay yourself a fair market value, the cost would be $6,000 ($50 X 120 hours).
Before embarking on this DIY adventure, you request proposals from a couple of reputable web developers.  You learn that it would cost roughly $3,000 for someone else to create the website of your dreams.
The reality is, you don’t actually have to pay yourself.  So, why spend the cash on someone else?
Great question.
First, and most importantly, if you do it yourself, you will miss out on the chance to earn $6,000 if you had been performing work for a paying client. 
After paying someone else $3,000, you would still be ahead by $3,000 ($6,000-$3,000 = $3,000)
Not convinced yet?
More reasons why you should consider outsourcing:
  1. Total project time: An expert is going to be able to complete a project faster than a beginner.  If you need to hit a deadline or simply need it done fast, outsourcing helps.
  2. Expertise: While your result may be “good enough”, an expert will bring all of their tools, tricks and insights to the table.
  3. Better than cloning: You can’t be doing two things at once.  By outsourcing, you can ensure that two things are getting done at the same time in a professional manner.  This can accelerate how quickly you will hit revenue and profit goals.
This my friends is the reality of doing business.
There are certain circumstances in which you may still wish to build it yourself.  You may just be starting out and simply don’t have the capital available.  You may not be established enough to use that time serving profitable customers.  Each business is unique.
All of this is ok, just recognize that you are in essence paying yourself less than market value, and your path to profitability will be longer.
Remember, your time has value. 
Take a minute to calculate how much your free resources and services are costing you. If your time was an asset you could record in your financial statements, would you be ok with showing others how it is being spent? 
Do you still think free is free?

Pick Your Battles

together

 

I wanted to share this with you today from the book “Team Work Makes The Dream,” work by John Maxwell.

I keep it by my couch where I sit early in the morning and later in the evening. I go back to it often and read a chapter or two at least once a week.

I think this is so crucial to understand what John wrote about team work and picking your battles for all the entrepreneur’s reading this right now. It truly takes a village, a team around you to make it happen. Individuals who you can collaborate with, like minded people who show you support, and people who can help your vision become a reality.

John Maxwell said “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a process, working together is a success.”

  1. Winning is often the battle and there are times in the life of every team player when he or she needs to fight. But if you fight all the time, you can wear yourself out. That’s why it is important to pick your battles.
  2. To gain a better perspective of when to fight back and when to sacrifice yourself, practice the following disciplines.
  3. Spend Time with People Who Are Different from You – That helps you to appreciate and understand how others think and work. You will be less likely to judge others.
  4. In Matters of Personal Preference or Taste, Give In – Keep the main things the main thing. If you don’t save yourself for what really matters, you’ll wear yourself out.
  5. Don’t Take Things Personally – Always remember, hurting people hurt people. They are also easily hurt by others.
  6. Practice 101 Percent Principal – Whenever possible, find the 1 percent you do agree on in a difficult  situation, and give 100 percent of your effort.
  7. Be a Servant Leader – If your mindset is to serve rather than be served, you will likely encounter less conflict.

 

Remember, “Together We Can Do The Impossible.”

 

Contact Lynette Barbieri For any questions or comments or just to say hi!

 

Teamwork-makes-the-dream-work

THANK YOU!

The Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms in partnership with Shido Martial Arts School in Freehold, NJ held their first  “Family Wellness & Beauty Day” which this year, raised funds for Bullying, We’re Kickin’ It! a National 501 c3 Non-Profit organization, created to empower & inspire childrens’ creativity, imagination, self expression and positively impacting them to overcome negative obstacles that would inhibit them from developing into strong, independent, healthy functioning members of society.
ETTM is a group of mothers on a mission to connect like minded women, network, build relationships and support each other in life and business growth, while giving back to the the community and supporting local small business owners.
We are beyond grateful for all the support we received from our sponsors and attendees, and experts from the Wellness & Beauty Industry who not only make this event possible but also graced attendees with workshops, products and services on behalf of creating awareness for this National Anti Bullying Campaign.
Thank you:

We look forward to next year’s!

How do I choose the best networking group for me?

As everyone knows, I have been in my own business for over 16 years. So, I consider myself pretty well versed in networking having gone to many different types of networking groups over the years.

I don’t go to many outside my own, unless I think in some way it will benefit our group, ETTM.

So, the other night I went to a women’s networking dinner (which was fun) and here is what I shared with this group of ladies:

1) Big doesnt always mean better. Just because a group has many people that show up, that does not necissarily mean it is better. I’ve found smaller intimate groups can produce more referrals, which in turn produce business because of the ability to connect more closely with people.

2) Price is only an issue in the absence of value. The least or the most expensive group doesn’t make the group better or worst. I do believe, however, that you do not have to spend a lot on a group to ensure it is a successful one. I also don’t believe free groups can produce a good return because there is no funding to grow and give back to the organization either.

The best groups have intimate circles and offer education as well as networking which is why we implement that in our ETTM.

3) Get to know one another. Lock arms with someone you view as a strategic partner and always listen more than you talk. Give first and give more and it will always come back.

Joining multiple groups is also a successful networking no no. I know you’re probably asking, why? Would I do better if I was a part of multiple organizations? Well, the simple answer would actually be a question, how many referrals are you able to give?

You see, if you promise more than you deliver it will come back to haunt you.

Focus your efforts into 1 or 2 groups you feel the best about; this would be the one/s with the most people you not only can relate to, but that you can honestly send referrals to.

Give of yourself to the group, if you want to get the best return, be around the most, volunteer more, tell everyone about the group and invite people to help it thrive.

Remember in any group or relationship… together, everyone achieves more!

Do you have Squirrel syndrome?

Just like our dogs are, we an be easily distracted by squirrels. We refer to those properly as distractions.

Most successful business women have A type personalities. That is great news because we are go getters, always on the move and we can take on a lot of tasks.

The bad news is we are easily distracted by things that happen around us in our business, at home, and with our families.

Did you ever find yourself sitting with a colleague and the most pressing topic you were on when you began your conversation, was 4 topics ago?… and the discussion you started, was still not resolved? Then yes… you are afflicted with squirrel syndrome!

Now that we identified your affliction what do you do?

When you sit down and list your goals at the beginning of the month, and then the end of the month rolls around… are you often not accomplishing them? Do you miss them by a landslide or nose? I bet if you thought about it, it would be in direct proportion with the things you let distract you.

So now that we have a diagnosis, and we know what it is causing, what is the antidote?

Simple: it’s change.

Sounds easy enough right? Actually, no…change is not easy and it does not come easily to many of us. But,  if you become aware that your distractions are in direct proportion to the goals you miss, wouldn’t you want to change?

All it takes to change is to refuel the passion you have for what you do. Become aware of wanting to accomplish your goals; your commitment and practice will help this change be a natural part of your daily routine. And then your success will be in direct proportion to the amount of energy you put into your comittment to change!

Our deepest desire is to succeed isnt it? Then change will be worth it!

Do you suffer from Squirrel syndrome? What do you do to treat it? Please let me know in the comment section below!

Life…Simplified?

We have all been there…a 60 hour work week, a jam packed schedule, busy, busy, busy…

We are working, parenting, living our lives…and needing {wanting} just a few more hours in the day to get everything done. 

Reality check: It is impossible to do it all on your own (but I’m sure you already knew that).
 
So how can you simplify your life? {Ahem…no magic tricks here}
 
She created this business for people like us, because she was like us.
We have action-packed lives and mile long to do list. But we value our free time and believe that an extra set of hands, can go a long way.
 
I have several businesses, 2 kids, a husband and a home to take care of.
Her commitment to supporting me in my everyday whirlwind has given me the ability to focus on the things that really need my attention. Asking for help has dramatically improved my well being: my stress levels are down, I’ve increased my productivity and freed up time to do more of the things I enjoy therefore… I’ve simplified my life.
 
Hand over your tasks – go off and enjoy your day. It’s that easy!
 
Life, simplified? Now that’s possible!
Meet Shakima and learn more about her services at our Family Wellness & Beauty Day.
Join us HERE!

Social Media Explained, Part 3: Twitter

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks, with over 190 million users sending over 65 million tweets each day.

Twitter is a real-time information network that empowers its users to share and discover interesting content through status updates (or “tweets”). Twitter is often referred to as a microblogging service because it limits your status updates to 140 characters. But the brilliance is in its simplicity and brevity.

For businesses and organizations, Twitter is one of the quickest ways to get a message out to people who may be interested in your activities, ideas, products, services, or events. You can also use Twitter to get real-time feedback from customers, members, and event attendees.

Like Facebook posts, users can share your tweet with the simple click of a button. This is called a “retweet,” and it is the feature that makes Twitter such a great word of mouth platform that can help your message reach an entirely new group of prospective customers. (Hint: You should pay attention to people who retweet your message as that is a good indication that they are listening to what you say, and may be one of your best influencers. Your influencers are like your best friends because they can help you attract new followers and prospects.)

 Twitter is a public site, which means anyone can view your tweets. However, users can choose to “follow” you on Twitter to keep track of your tweets. The follower relationship is not two-way; you don’t have to follow someone for them to follow you, and vice versa. However, when you follow someone on Twitter, you’ll see his or her tweets in real time on your private Twitter feed, including updates from everyone else you follow. (If you follow many people, this can create a bit of “noise,” especially if those people are heavy users of the site.)

While you can only send private “direct messages” to people who follow you, you do not need to follow a user to send a public message to them; just include the handle (@username) in your tweet and it will show up in that user’s feed. This is called an “@reply” or “mention.”

 You may discover that customers are already talking about you on Twitter by indexing your name with the “@” symbol or the “#” symbol.
Twitter is a great way to get real-time feedback from your customers and to discover what people are saying about you, your competition, industry, or any keyword that is relevant to you. You can see what people are saying about any topic in real time using Twitter’s search tools. 

What’s good about Twitter?

• The “Timeline” (or the Twitter feed) is public, which can help to give your business or organization greater exposure in web search results.

• The site is like a public forum, so it’s easy to build a community of potential customers you don’t personally know.

• Customers and members can “follow” you without you having to reciprocate.

• There is a quick way to share links to content to help spread your message to a wide audience.

• Users are very vocal, so if they are happy with your business or organization, they’ll say so.

What’s not so good about it?

• It’s sometimes challenging to create a meaningful post in only 140 characters.

• Lots of “noise.” With so many identical looking tweets, you have to be creative to make a single one stand out in the crowd.

• Spammers are increasingly targeting the service.

• Users are very vocal, so if they have a problem with something, they’ll say so (which is really not a bad thing).

Twitter’s greatest strength is its vast reach. The more engaging and relevant your content is — whether it’s an article you’re sharing, a link to your newsletter, or words of support for the local lacrosse team — the greater the chances it will be passed on and retweeted to a whole new audience.

How are you using Twitter for business?

Social Media Explained, Part 2: Facebook

Facebook has become a favorite destination for people, businesses, and organizations to connect and share information because of its easy to use and interactive features.

It’s the most multimedia-friendly of the big three networks as members can post text, pictures, audio, and video, and can share their location too. It also offers tons of applications and widgets that can make your Facebook Page engaging and fun.

In a nutshell, Facebook works like this: Users sign up for a free account and then make connections with other users on the service by “Friending” them: When you find someone you know on Facebook, you request to be their “Friend.” If the request is accepted, you can see that person’s profile information, status updates, photos, and more.

Users who you accept as a Friend can, in turn, see your profile, status updates, and photos. If you don’t want to share all your information with the public or all your Friends (for example, if you connect with coworkers or family members), there are privacy settings available to limit who can see what information you post or is posted about you by others.

Facebook is a great place to connect with your own friends, family, and colleagues, but it has also become an incredibly powerful platform for businesses and organizations to build community, engage with prospects, and encourage customers and members to spread your message to a larger network. Small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to create a Facebook Page rather than personal profile.

A Facebook Page, like a personal profile, provides an information hub that users can choose to “Like.” Liking a Facebook Page is not too different from subscribing to a newsletter. Facebook users will Like a Page to stay updated on events, promotions, and news, or to simply show their appreciation or endorsement. Anyone can build a Page —businesses, associations, actors, musicians, nonprofit organizations, politicians, etc.

A big advantage to creating a Facebook Page is that you do not have to accept requests for connections. When someone likes your Page, anything you do post to your Facebook Page will show up in their newsfeed. This is how the network effect kicks in. If you post something that your fans like, they will share it with their friends who may very well decide to connect with you too.

Finally, Facebook Pages are public, meaning they can get picked up in search engines and give you and your organization and its website, even more exposure.

What’s also good about Facebook?

• The user base is huge, and that means many of your customers and constituents are already there.

• It’s easy to use.

• You can post any type of multimedia content, including videos, photos, and links to external content.

• You can separate your personal and professional use.

Tips for Success:

 People who connect with you or Like your Page are interested in what you have to say and appreciate what you do for them.

 Use that to your advantage by posting exclusive updates, photos, sales/promotions, and other content that will help to form an even closer bond with your customers and members.

When you post interesting content or exclusive promotions, your fans will Share or Like your message with their Friends. This can create an incredible network effect to drive more followers, email subscribers, and ultimately business.

How are you using Face Book for business?

Social Media Explained, Part 1

The buzz around social media marketing has grown very rapidly…. and it’s here to stay. 

If you haven’t already embarked and you want to continue to see your business grow…you better get on board.

People are blogging, connecting with Friends on Facebook, posting updates to Twitter, and getting LinkedIn.

Is your business or organization still on the social media sideline, looking to get into the game but unsure of how to proceed, or are you still wondering if the business value is there?

In the following posts, we will introduce some of the most notable social media marketing sites: what they are, why you’d want to use them, and how to use them effectively.

With this information in hand, you’ll have the right ammunition to start or continue building your social media presence. This post is a series, so stay tuned for more. In the meantime, let’s discuss…are you using social media for your business?

Vanessa Coppes

Vanessa Coppes is the founder of enV by Vanessa Coppes. A Social Entrepreneur, a Creative Visionary, Writer and a Life & Business Mentor she empowers women to live fabulously, everyday.

To Be Yourself or Not To Be?

I have always been attracted to people who have the courage to be what some may call “different” when in reality, they are simply being themselves.

I interviewed Nika Stewart, founder of Ghost Tweeting. She always has something new and fabulous to offer others, specially when it comes to doing business.

I know we all know this, but sometimes while trying to figure out our branding puzzle, our approach to new people, our new 30 second pitch…we sometimes lose sight that more and more people want to connect to people.

Watch Nika and I talk about how the authentic approach to life and business continues to win.

 

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